satin vs flat paint

Whether upgrading your furniture or painting a wall, you must choose a finish. When deciding between satin and flat paint, it may be helpful to grasp the fundamental variations between the two.

Because they lack gloss, flat paints are neither reflecting nor glossy. Flat paints, on the other hand, provide a dull, dry, and grainy surface. Satin paint is more resistant to moisture and abrasion than flat paint. Flat paint works well on ornamental things because of its weak moisture resistance.


What is Satin Paint?

Semi-gloss paint is categorised as satin paint. Only flat paints, which have no shine, have a lower sheen level than this paint.

Both water-based and oil-based satin paint formulas are offered. Paints with a satin finish withstand moisture and endure a long time. The paint is thus perfect for wood and other porous surfaces that need a layer of water resistance.

Like other high-gloss paints, satin paint reflects light thanks to its shine. The finish is known as medium-gloss because of this. It is painted with both glossy and flat paint.

What is Satin Paint Used For?

Wood is painted with satin paint.

For a matte finish, do-it-yourselfers often use satin paint.

Because it is resistant to water, satin paint is often used on furniture for the home.

Tables, workstations, and kitchen cabinets are regularly used surfaces painted with satin paint.

satin vs matte paint difference and advantages simplified

satin-paint on windows

What is Flat Paint?

Water-based paints are those that are flat. They use the most straightforward recipe in the painting sector, without additives or gloss. Pigment, water, and a binder make up flat paints, commonly called matte paints.

In addition to having little to no gloss, flat paints are also relatively thin. Since flat paints are water-based and don’t include any additives, they have a thin or light consistency.

Since the paint is water-based and thin, it dries rapidly. Under typical drying circumstances, flat paint may be reapplied in less than 30 minutes.

On the other hand, the paint is neither shiny, reflecting, nor smooth. The finish is often harsh and dry. Although flat paints don’t provide perfect protection, they offer the most transparent colour.

So what exactly does flat paint do? Let’s look more closely.

What Is Flat Paint Used For?

Use flat paints to decorate furniture and accessories.

Transparent paints, such as polyurethane, are often tinted or coloured with flat paints.

Flat paints are often employed in arts, crafts, and design work.

Flat paints are used to hide flaws and blemishes.

Utilising flat paints to provide a glazed appearance.

Primers may also be applied using flat paints.

Is satin or flat paint better? By comparing the two paints, we may discover the answer.

Satin vs Flat paint

You can choose the best finish for your product by knowing the differences between flat and satin paint. The two paint kinds’ differences may be seen by closely examining each feature and side-by-side contrasting them. Here is a detailed explanation of the variations between flat and satin paint.

choosing-the-right-interior-paint-finish-from satin and flat paint


The visual difference between flat and satin paint depends on the gloss level. While satin paint has a sheer gloss, flat paint has a matte surface that hardly reflects any light. know more about gloss paint and satin paint difference to get the right finishes as per your preferences.

Even paints with matching colours might seem differently on surfaces because the light-reflecting qualities of paints vary. Satin paint’s colour is directly affected by light on the surface and light reflected from neighbouring objects. When lit, the paint colour could seem lighter. Depending on the colour of the item, the colour of the light it reflects may change.

Flat paint improves colour stability. The surface does not reflect light as effectively as it should, which lessens the impact on colour.

Because it reflects light, satin paint may give a room an impression of depth. Additionally, it could enlarge tiny spaces like corridors, restrooms, and kids’ rooms. These advantages are not offered by flat paint.


Satin paint seems more glossy than flat paint. Sometimes velvety or iridescent are used to describe the exquisite shine of satin paint. Even while the sheen is there, it is far less noticeable than in gloss or semi-gloss.

Flat paint is the minor glossy finish possible and has almost no shine. This prevents any light from being reflected from the surface, although the quantity is often negligible.

Both satin and flat paint may seem relatively smooth, regardless of sheen. When satin is applied correctly, the result may be pretty uniform, but application problems with satin are on the rise, which raises the likelihood of variations.


In terms of endurance, satin paint outperforms flat paint. The binders give satin paint greater flexibility and sturdiness, increasing its resistance to nicks, scratches, and stains.

Furthermore, satin paint is more straightforward to clean due to its longer-lasting surface. The paint won’t be harmed by gentle cleaning. On the other hand, using anything coarsely bristled to scrub vigorously might damage the lustre.

The additional binders give satin paint moisture resistance. In moist situations, such as bathrooms, the likelihood of mould and mildew growing on the paint surface will be reduced.

Since flat paint lacks a binder, it is less flexible and long-lasting. Even with regular wear and tear, dings, scrapes, and stains are increasingly frequent. Paint removal while cleaning may reveal older or underlying materials.

Flat paint also cannot withstand dampness. This makes problems with mould and mildew more likely.


Generally speaking, flat paint covers more surface area than satin paint. Flat paint has more pigment since there is less binder in it. The additional pigment gives the paint a more striking colour in a single coat, perhaps lowering the number of applications required for complete coverage.

Satin hiding concerns might grow more prevalent as there are more binders available. You are swapping more binders for more pigment. You use less colour in one pass because the binder is the wrong shade.

You should be aware that one-coat paints are available in various finishes, including satin. They could have fewer coverage issues. know how much does a gallon paint weighs for right amount to by for full coverage on the walls.


Satin and flat paint maintenance have advantages and disadvantages. Cleaning satin paint is not too difficult. A soft sponge, towel, soap, and water may rapidly remove dirt. Furthermore, cleaning the paint shouldn’t damage it unless you scratch it firmly. Overdoing it might harm the shine but not the colour.

Satin paint, on the other hand, is challenging to repair. At the improved place, there will often be a variation in shine. As a consequence, the correction is noticeable.

Flat paint requires more effort to clean. While trying to get rid of dirt, you could remove the paint. Cleaning may expose the previous paint or underlying substance, depending on the thickness of the paint, leaving a visible area.

On the other hand, spot eradication is often simpler. When flat paint is touched up, the repaired area merges in perfectly with the surface. It’s likely that until it dries, you won’t see any change.

Ease of Use

Generally speaking, flat paint is considerably easier to work with than glossy paint. Flat paint often blends smoothly, even when wet paint is applied over dried paint. Since there is no shine, lines are not apparent. The typical W approach is practical, allowing you to paint swiftly.

Applying satin paint is more complicated. The sheen may not be uniform if wet paint is applied over dried paint. The surface will seem to have lines due to the overlap.

Consequently, the W method is usually not the best choice for satin paint unless you have rapid hands. You may need to make short single passes instead.

Apply a single stripe from top to bottom on a wall, for instance, by filling a roller with paint. Apply more paint, shift the roller one roller length to the side, and apply a subsequent vertical stripe. Continue doing this until the whole room is painted.

On the other hand, satin paint can need the use of a paint sprayer. This makes it possible to apply the paint evenly and without sharp edges.

Flat paint also makes touch-ups less difficult. Touch-ups blend in with flat paint, but since satin paint has gloss flaws, they often stand out.


The cost of flat paint is often lower than that of satin paint. The price difference per gallon when comparing the same brand and paint line is around $5 per can. However, there are instances when the price disparity is more significant or minor.

Although a $5 price difference per can may seem little, it may add up. Typically, a gallon of paint will cover 400 square feet. You will pay $10 to $15 more if you require two or three cans of glossy paint for one room rather than flat paint.

A second coat, however, could be required if the satin paint does not entirely cover in one application (which is more probable with satin than with flat paint). Since you would need four to six cans of paint to complete the task, you would have to spend an additional $20 to $30.

The $5 price difference per can becomes much more apparent if you’re repainting the whole inside. The $10 to $30 price differential for each room might add up to hundreds depending on the required quantity and size of coats.


Theoretically, any paint finish could be used in every circumstance. However, specific applications are better suited to flat and satin paints.

Flat paint is often used to paint ceilings. Lowering its gloss makes it less evident since most people do not want their ceilings to stand out. Furthermore, ceilings are less likely to deteriorate over time since they are seldom handled.

For places with little traffic, flat paint is an option that works well. Master, guest, formal dining, and home offices may all employ flat paint. Most of the time, keeping the walls clean in these locations is not as important. Therefore the lower durability is not a problem.

High-traffic areas and rooms that can benefit from moisture resistance often employ satin paint. Bathrooms and kitchens are both great examples. However, this paint is also suitable for trim and mouldings, as well as in kids’ rooms and corridors.

Several designs may be ideal for living rooms depending on the area used. For instance, flat paint may not be the greatest option if it is a well-liked kid’s play area. On the other hand, flat paint can be okay if the living room serves as a formal space or is used for relaxation rather than action.


The Difference Between Satin and Flat Paint

The top coat of paint will display flat and satin finishes. While the flat paint has no sheen, the satin paint is glossier. The salesperson or attendant at the paint shop will combine pigment and a glossing agent when you choose a colour. The shine your paint reflects depends on how much gloss-medium is applied.

Many factors might affect your choice. The substrate comes first. Remember that the more light the paint reflects, the more any faults will be highlighted. Therefore, when painting the living walls of an older house, dents or flaws in the drywall are inevitable. In this situation, flat paint can be preferable. Since the drywall is in excellent shape, satin works well in new construction.

The setting of the image is another factor to take into account. Anything that comes into touch with the paint is protected from it by the gloss. Satin is more resilient in high-traffic areas like kitchens, baths, and kids’ rooms. Flat is advised for closets and workplaces.

Lastly, take into account your degree of painting expertise. The more reflective the surface, the more difficult it is to paint on. Gloss must be applied carefully since latex dries quickly. Any errors are immediately apparent after the paint has dried. Additionally, acrylic and latex are the only two paints that enable you to adjust the gloss level. This cannot be done since oil already has a gloss on it.


The gloss is the most discernible difference between satin and flat paint. However, there are variations in terms of longevity, application, price, and other elements. Satin is more durable, has a more noticeable gloss, and is simpler to maintain. However, applying and touching up is more difficult and often costs more.



  • Which paint is preferred: flat or satin?

Generally speaking, flat paint covers more surface area than satin paint. Flat paint has more pigment since there is less binder in it. The additional pigment gives the paint greater colour in a single coat, perhaps lowering the number of applications required for complete coverage.

  • Compared to flat paint, is satin paint lighter?

Compared to the same hue with a satin or gloss sheen, a paint colour with a flat sheen may seem lighter or darker. You should also consider the effect of the desired paint gloss when assessing a colour’s look.

  • What function does flat paint serve in the building sector?

The paint is more compatible with its predecessor since it doesn’t have gloss. Because they detest painting walls from edge to edge, contractors, employ flat paint.

  • Does satin fit in the living room?

These carpets benefit from family areas, living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways. These spaces, kitchens, dining rooms, kid’s bedrooms, and bathrooms look great with satin, which is more durable than eggshells. Numerous satin finishes are durable enough to be applied on trim. checkout more info about flat paint vs eggshell in this post for better understanding and comparisons.

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